Vostok SOS is a civil initiative which focuses on providing aid to people who have been exposed to violence in Ukraine, including political violence. It was established in 2014 as a result of the merging of human rights center 'Step' and human rights center 'Action'. 'Step' previously worked in Luhansk, whilst 'Action' was a Crimean center whose members were forced to flee from Crimea after it's annexation.
Vostok SOS builds peace through supporting the integration and reconciliation of IDPs with the community as well as providing support through shelter, food, consultations on IDP registration, access to state services and legal aid. Vostok SOS facilitates social adaptation and nonviolent behaviour in children through summer camps and children's groups. Furthermore, the organisation advocates for IDP's rights in the state bodies to ensure financial and legal aid for the population affected by conflict.
Vostok SOS's main areas of activity are:
- Legal support and advocacy
- Humanitarian support
- Information dissemination about captured civilians.
Vostok SOS partners with both local and international organisations. For example, it has received financial grants to provide aid to IDPs in Kharkiv with food and hygiene kits, and for buying medical equipment for maternity homes in the Sumy region. Together with a crew from the Estonian national TV foundation, Vostok SOS has carried out media advocacy for peacebuilding and created a film about life in Eastern Ukraine. Another activity is a cultural initiative entitled “Books for the released city” in cooperation with National society congress of Ukraine. Through this project, people are invited to meet with Ukrainian journalists and also to donate books to East Ukraine. Another peacebuilding initiative is directed at the reintegration and union of community through participation in sport activities, including 'Hold Balance' that took place in Camel bay in Kyiv.
Ongoing monthly activities include:
- On a daily basis, useful information for the affected population is researched and disseminated on the organisations' site and social network.
- 2,000 affected people have requested assistance through Vostok SOS's hotline, online and in person. 80% of these requests are via the hotline.
- Legal assistance: About 650 IDPs have requested legal assistance concerning their rights and entitlements. Vostok SOS has suggested 3 amendments to Government regulation regarding IDP rights and representatives of the NGO write analytical articles on IDPs rights for Ukrainian online resources.
- Humanitarian support: About 500 IDPs have received humanitarian support from Vostok SOS through the provision of medicine, stationery, clothes, food and more. 157 new families have also requested humanitarian support.
- Captured civilians: 300 people have called the hotline to ask for information on captured people, missing civilians and combatants. 30 bags with humanitarian aid has been sent to families with a missing or captured member.